Construction Company Cited After Fatal Gas Exposures

OSHA cited USA Fanter for serious confined space violations after three employees died from exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas.

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SAIPAN, NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited USA Fanter for serious confined space violations after three employees died from exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas.

On July 7, 2017, USA Fanter employees were working in and around a well that was not identified as a permit-required confined space. When one employee was overcome by fumes after entering the well, two other employees attempted to rescue him, and were also overcome by the gas.

An OSHA investigation found that the company failed to conduct atmospheric testing, control atmospheric hazards, provide rescue and emergency services, and provide employee training. The company faces $59,576 in proposed penalties.

“This case demonstrates how failing to follow necessary procedures in confined spaces can have deadly consequences,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Barbara Goto. “Employers must recognize the dangers of assigning work in confined spaces, and take appropriate precautions to protect workers’ safety and health.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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